Vatican: Archbishop Will Meet With
VATICAN CITY — An archbishop
whose marriage scandalized the Vatican has agreed to meet with
his wife after a two-week spiritual retreat, the Vatican said
Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, 71, "will meet
Maria Sung to communicate his decisions to her," said Vatican
spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls.
However, questions were immediately raised
over whether the two sides could agree on terms for the
The wife, Maria Sung, a 43-year-old
acupuncturist, said that Vatican had set conditions, including
one that was unacceptable: that a mediator from each side be
The Vatican, meanwhile, denied setting any
conditions. Navarro-Valls said that Milingo had made the
decision to meet with Sung and set the conditions "in total
"The Holy See cannot and does not want to
impose anything upon the conscience of the archbishop," he
said in a brief statement.
The statement did not say when the couple
Sung's spokesman, the Rev. Phillip
Schanker, said the Vatican had agreed Tuesday to a private
meeting, then backed away from that commitment. He also said
the Vatican had set six conditions for the meeting but ・aside
from the demand that a mediator be present ・would not disclose
what they were.
"We are extremely disappointed," said
Schanker, an official of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Family
Federation for World Peace and Unification Movement.
The South Korean ambassador to the Vatican
has been trying for days to arrange a meeting between Milingo
and his wife, who has been on a hunger strike since Aug. 14.
"Maria is fasting for one purpose ・for a
private meeting with her husband. Nothing else can be
discussed," said Schanker.
He refused to say what other conditions
were set out by the Vatican, but said they were all
"If a private meeting is agreed upon by
everyone, I hope it occurs tonight, so that this woman's
suffering and this embarrassment and misunderstanding can
end," he told a press conference.
Milingo and Sung were married at a May 27
group wedding in New York conducted by Moon.
Sung says she hasn't heard from Milingo
since Aug. 8, the day after the Zambian archbishop met with
Pope John Paul II after the Vatican threatened to kick him out
of the church if he didn't leave Sung.
Earlier this month, the Vatican released
what it said was a handwritten, signed letter from Milingo in
which he said he had decided to return to the church and leave
Since Milingo disappeared from public
sight, the Vatican has not disclosed his whereabouts, saying
only that he is on a spiritual retreat and that he should be
left alone to pray.